Month: December 2012

This year I’m sick. New Years Eve always disappoints.

Smilingldsgirl's Weblog

So everyone knows I’m not a woe is me single girl but some days it does kind of suck.  New Years and Valentines being the chief offenders.  I don’t think there are any more ‘coupley’ holidays in the calendar year.

The only thing that makes New Years slightly worse is there is no ignoring it like with Valentines and almost every ‘fun’ activity involves dancing, which I hate.

I have never liked dancing. For starters I have almost no natural rhythm  and I’m not just being modest.  I literally have no natural rhythm. I hate the music typically played at dances. I don’t like club music and find DJs to be obnoxious.  Its also so loud that you can’t talk and you end up either as a wallflower which sucks or gyrating to ‘Everybody Dance Now’ like an idiot. It’s also dark and hard to see anyone so I don’t…

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NO GOALS, NO RESOLUTIONS

Normally I am a huge goal setter.  I love having a plan and motivating myself to do better, be better.   As you all know my life has been overwhelmed lately with the building of my house and my move. So much so that I haven’t been able to eat well and my stomach has been continually upset.  I wish I could control this but I can’t.I’ve thrown up a lot, had nausea, sleep apnea, insomnia, stomach cramping, headaches and asthmatic episodes and I actually think I’ve handled it all pretty well for me….Sigh

So with this in mind I had an interesting experience yesterday. I met with my nutrition counselor on Saturday and she tried 3 times to get me to set goals- goals for the New Year, goals for the month, and then I think getting a little desperate, goals for the week.  I just couldn’t do it!  My brain couldn’t formulate one goal. Even as she asked me I felt my heart begin to race and my stomach churn. My whole body felt raw, wrung out and tired.  Really kind of numb… I just shook my head and said ‘I can’t do it.  I have no idea’. 

This is highly unusual for me but it was in fact a healthy choice for me to make. I’m kind of proud of myself.

I told her that I knew I was in a vulnerable spot and whatever goals I set would become obsessive for me.  I’m searching for things I can control and diet goals are something I could go way overboard in feeling I can control.  I just knew I had to step back and take it one day at a time.   It’s a good thing that I am getting to the point in my mental health where I can tell I am vulnerable and when I am not.  Right now I just need acceptance, congratulations and as much normality as possible.

No goals!  No resolutions!  Just survival!  I feel a little guilty even saying that but its true.  I need to coast for a month until I get in this darn house and then it will be back to the goal setting Rachel.

Does that make sense? I can only take so much and I also feel I need to savor the moment and be grateful for the blessings of so many changes.  It would be easy to distract myself from the fear of change with a diet rush or some other goal, obsess into that instead of dealing with all the new and absorbing it with fearlessness.

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So there you go.  No goals!  Just going to try and be happy to be me. 248072_10151332018897239_58777808_n

2012 Highlights

So I really debated about doing this post because I didn’t know if I could talk about 2012 in a genuine way (I hate glossy highlight reels but I suppose it is better than nothing).  It was a tough year for me and one if I could erase I would do it in a heartbeat.  However, all I can do is try to learn from the experiences and be grateful for the good times.   I am certainly deeply grateful for all the support I have received from friends and family.

As you can see from the gallery some of the highlights of the year included 3 swimfests, Great Salt Lake Marathon Swim, Swim Camp, Deer Creek 5k, building a house, moving to family ward (although challenging in many ways), eye surgery and vision therapy, family reunion in Cali, my weekend retreat in October, BYU 10 Year Reunion, Camille’s wedding, my first solo Christmas/Thanksgiving. (And that’s not even the bad stuff! What a jammed packed year!).

I’m so excited for 2013 and a new house, new tenants, new ward, new experiences.  It should be exciting!  To learning, growing, exploring.

Two Week Notice

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Today I found out that my house is officially delayed by 2 weeks…sigh.  The cabinets took longer to install and now the countertops aren’t ready until next week.  I might get lucky and things will be done sooner but at this rate I wouldn’t count on it.  I have increased my leave date in my apartment complex and let my tenants know.  They were all bummed about the delay but understanding, which I am SO grateful for.  I really found the best people ever for my new place.  Everything would be so much more stressful if they were unhappy.

The truth is it is out of my hands but that is exactly what makes it so nerve-wracking.  I am just at the whim of this other group, tossed about from one week to another.  That is very frustrating, but also the nature of the beast.

Any of you out there have any strategies for dealing with the next few weeks in a healthy way? Maintaining my anxiety, not getting to worked up, etc?  I kind of wish I hadn’t started packing so early because it adds to the sense of chaos and lack of control in my life, creating more anxiety, but how was I to know? As late as last week they were still committing to the 31st as the end date so you have to prepare for that.

I’ve been trying deep breathing, my sleep hygiene, exercise, essential oils, and even some medicine on occasion, but what other tools help all of you out there dealing with anxiety during intense times of change?  I would really appreciate some feedback on this one.

Have any of you built a house? Perhaps you can relate to what I’m experiencing.  I’m now realizing what a bold move it was to dive into not only home ownership but a build and an income property and I know that is part of what is overwhelming.  However, on the same breath I know it is right but the right things can be overwhelming and full of anxiety (ie pretty much every day on my mission…).

I would love to hear your experiences from any of you that have been through home builds.  Unless it’s horror stories.  Save those for another day!

At least I know what’s coming and am not waiting in limbo for contractors to get back to the builder.  That was worse than a delay.  In the meantime, I’m trying to count my blessings and manage my anxiety that is nearly constantly bubbling inside me (I told my Mom today I can’t help it.  It’s just there all the time.  I can help how I respond to it but not make it go away).

Patience

When I was on my mission my president told me to write a 30 page paper on patience.  (I’m not kidding).  Clearly I had to learn a lot about being patient, especially with my companions.  I still have it in storage and it is probably a pretty good paper.  The one thing I remember is that patience is one of the highest forms of godliness, right up there with charity and forgiveness.

No wonder it’s so hard!  No news today about the install of the cabinets which makes me think it won’t be done this week and then there is no way the house will be done the 31st.  Everything then is delayed but I don’t know for sure because nobody is returning my calls or texts about it.  The waiting to hear news, waiting to make plans, making plans but having back ups, is exhausting!

Plus, I feel doubly bad because my tenants also have to wait before they can get in their house but luckily they have been so nice and understanding.  It’s just hard for all of us to be patient.  Plus, it’s not just being patient for a house but a whole new life and experience.  Also, I still am nervous about the loan and hope nothing goes wrong.  The longer we wait the longer I have to stew over that.

I think if I could just get an install date on the cabinets I would feel much better about my timeline but as it is I am left with nothing but hopes that somehow they will pull it off and my move can go as planned.  Each day I don’t hear back the hope grows smaller and I grow more anxious.

I’m SO ready for all of this to be over and to have my house and life back.  It’s so hard to not know what’s going on in your house and to have things in other people’s hands and to be waiting on them.  Makes me want to go install the cabinets but that’s probably not a good idea!

Anyway, the waiting is making me crazy.  The mess is making me crazy!  The not knowing is making me crazy

What to do to survive these next few weeks?

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How Mrs. Claus Relaxes

I mentioned the other day that I have a hard time relaxing and taking the day off. Well I do know 2 things that  I love and would do all day if I could and they couldn’t be more different- MMA (mixed martial arts) and massages

As my Christmas gift to myself I decided to do both and I did them with some Christmas flair!

I’ve learned some new moves since my last video.  I love doing the blocks.  I’ve also gotten faster and higher in my kicks.

Putting on my wraps before the training
Putting on my wraps before the training
awesome kick
Nice high kick! Ah ha!
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Nobody will mess around with this Mrs Claus!
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Body shots. I’m thinking of those cabinet makers slowing things down right now! 🙂

And then the massage.  I love massages.  If I was super rich I’d have a massage every day.

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Happy face. Little nervous at my eye alignment in this picture but don’t I look relaxed?

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Ready for the massage
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Merry Christmas!

Now that’s how you get it done!

Holidays and Moving

Honestly folks what was I thinking? And how come nobody whacked me upside the head and said ‘finishing a house New Years Eve will make you crazy’?  I mean isn’t that what friends are for!  🙂 .

All joking aside the gruesome combo of building a house (especially as a first time home buyer) and trying to eek out a good Christmas is not something I’d recommend to anyone else.  It’s been brutal.  My apartment of 3 years is all a flutter, boxes everywhere (the chaos is making me feel chaotic!) and furniture is being sold or attempted to be sold (3 people have stood me up waiting for them to show up.   1 of them was for a free tv.  You think they’d have initiative to come over for a free tv).

The main thing we are waiting on at the house is the cabinets, which finally arrived Friday at the warehouse.  Now we have to find out the install date.  Once the cabinets are installed countertops, appliances, sinks and carpet can all be installed.  Stupid cabinets!

My stomach has been affected by the anxiety and I haven’t been able to digest things well or had much of an appetite.  I’ve felt nauseated and yet my sleep has been bad.

The thing is I know everything will be okay.  Even if I have to move my stuff up to my Dad’s for a few weeks, I have a back up, but knowing that doesn’t seem to make the worry go away.  Last week, for instance, I tried for 4 days to look at the positive and be hopeful, and I was miserable Friday and then Saturday I reached the breaking point where I had to take my anxiety meds (something I am loathe to do).  The only thing that makes me proud is that in the past I would have had a full blown panic attack on Saturday but I kept it under control.

What feels frustrating is I can’t explain it very well.  It’s a non-nonsensical experience.  It makes me feel like an idiot and a also a little guilty.  I know I am so blessed to have a house with amazing tenants.  Even writing that I want to throw up.

Sigh…And then there is Christmas.  I have had a nice holiday season but it has been more of a welcome distraction than a season.  I kind of wish I could pick it up and have it in February instead of December but I’ve done the best I can to be festive and happy.  Will it go down as one of my best Christmases? Probably not. Some of my friends seem to have the perfect responses to being single and stressful at Christmas.  I’m trying but I can only do so much when I feel like my brain is going to explode.  At this point I am on survival mode trying to be as happy and stable as possible, with as few breakdown as possible before move in day.

The truth is  I’ve also felt very close to the spirit during this time.  I know what I’m doing is right and that means everything.  When I feel anxious, prayer and study have helped me to calm down and lessen the nausea.  In a way I suppose I have been able to focus on the true reason for the season because everything has been so crazy.  Yesterday we had a tremendous Christmas program and it reminded me that Jesus Christ was born, lived, and died for me.   He loves me and love means everything.

So to getting through the next 2 weeks without any breakdowns!  (ok maybe 1 or 2 will be allowed? 😉 ).  I will write tomorrow to let you know how my solo crazy Christmas went.  In the meantime Merry Christmas!

(My thoughts have been so jumbled I’ve tried to write this post 3 times and failed so take it for what it is worth.  It’s been a challenging time for me.  Exciting but challenging).

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Laziness Experiment

So my name is Rachel and I’m a workaholic.  Want to know the proof?  I’ve had kind of a miserable day and do you know what it was- my day off!  I will probably end up with close to 50 unused vacation hours this year (my strategy of no vacation/no distraction was great for training, not so great for mental health).  The last 2 weeks I have tried to take full days off and have failed miserably ending up with 2-4 hours off if at all (Monday I tried to take off and I ended up working 9 hours…Sigh).

Today I thought ‘I’m just going to relax, watch some movies, pack some boxes and enjoy the day’.  (I did go to the PO box, check emails and make a deposit but come on I can’t go from hero to zero all at once!).

Well, my plan didn’t work very well.  I woke up way early (I’ve been doing that lately.  Not sure why?) and by about noon I was in a bad mood.  Feeling crotchety and frustrated.

Things that helped me out of my bad mood- my friend Miriam called just to chat who lives in Virginia and is in town for the holidays.  She wasn’t even calling to get together- just to talk.  I love that!  Thanks.  We have been friends for 10 years and as far as I’m concerned the best of friends are the longest lasting.

Then I watched Home Alone and that was hilarious.  I forgot how funny it was.  I went to see it when I was 10 with my grandparents and remember rolling in the aisles laughing.  I had never laughed so hard in a theater.  It holds up remarkably well and isn’t being home alone every kids dream?  It was for me!

Then I went to mixed martial arts and that made me feel better.  I could release some frustration.  Frustration at being single on Christmas.  Frustration about not finding out about my house.  Frustration about my weird lazy day.  Frustration about how I was feeling that I couldn’t even explain. I love it!  I’m going to do a session Christmas Eve and I think it will be good to get the frustration out.

I know I should have a perfect response to being alone for Christmas but I don’t.  I’m sorry.  Being 32 and alone at Christmas is nobody’s dream least of all mine.  Personally I think you’d be a little strange to not feel a little sad at being alone for Christmas.

But that really wasn’t while I was feeling frustrated.  It’s just my life is in flux and I want it to be done.  The waiting is driving me crazy!  I guess at least work is a distraction from all the other things so trying to be lazy today just didn’t work. There’s something to be said for keeping busy.

Sometimes I also wonder if I’ve lost the ability to really relax? At least there is always Hawaii. I can relax there.  Or perhaps my version of relaxation is just busier as much as it drives me crazy? I don’t know? I’m not sure the best way to order my life?

Do any of you struggle with that?

Thanks for all the Christmas cards I got today.  That really cheered me up. I have the best friends!  Merry Christmas! (and yes facebook friends I do think chasing our childhood Christmases is a mistake.  Like the scripture says ‘When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man [or woman], I put childish ways behind me.’. Part of growing up at least for me but still a lot to be merry about.

Anyway, so that’s my random thoughts on my day of laziness.

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Christmas without any Carols

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I’ve had a thoroughly delightful Christmas season including three performances of the Messiah, lots of lights, Festival of Trees, and the Christmas Carol last night.  Tonight I will be singing in our semi-annual recital for my voice lessons.   I usually do a traditional Christian carol but decided to switch it up this year with ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’ because I felt it was ironic for 2 reasons-

1. I’m not going home for Christmas and at the end it says ‘if only in my dreams’ (like many of the songs from the 40’s and 50’s there is a hint of melancholy in the depth of what is otherwise a cheerful song.  ie Somewhere Over the Rainbow “If happy little blue birds fly beyond the rainbow why, oh why can’t I?”).

2. I will be getting a new home, my first home, right after Christmas so the song works on that level as well.

Here it is.   As I’ve said before I’m no American Idol winner but I was happy with it.  The video isn’t great because I forgot my camera so I just had my phone, but I hope you all enjoy!

Anyway, as I’ve been preparing I have noticed a troubling trend- almost none of the stores or restaurants I have frequented this season have been playing Christmas music.  I’m not just talking about the ‘O Holy Night’ Christian variety.   They aren’t even playing the Santa, Rudolph variety.  I have never noticed this before and it makes me very sad.

For hundreds of years singing has been an integral part of the Christmas experience.  According to my old friend Wikipedia the first carols were sung in 1426 by “groups of ‘wassailers‘, who went from house to house”.  Then in the 1700’s Protestant churches wrote many of the popular carols we know today such ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’, ‘I Saw 3 Ships’ and ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’.

Think about what this means- that for 500+ years western civilization has sung the  carols at Christmas as part of our tradition and now it is not heard much (and this was not just an isolated incident Walmart, Postnet, Kohls, Scheels, Zupas, Wells Fargo, Dollar Tree…I could go on. None had Christmas music playing).  That is a radical shift! Not even Republics have been around that long!

And why? Because everyone is so afraid of offending a tiny minority of extremists who will make a fuss.  I realize that non-Christians are not a tiny minority but most of them participate in the cultural traditions of Christmas and ignore the religious connotations.  Most Jewish, Atheist, or agnostics that I have met still put up a Christmas tree and sing the Christmas songs without any problem at all.  It’s part of our community, our traditions, as Hanukkah and Ramadan are starting to become.

But again they are not turning off Christmas music because of these good people celebrating other traditions, they are doing it out of fear of the one squeaky voice who makes a scene.  Well, maybe I can be that squeaky voice.  I love Christmas music.  It’s positive, hopeful, peaceful, happy, and as a Christian I miss having one season of the year where I could hear uplifting music wherever I went.  Is that so wrong?

If it was good enough for civilization for 500+ years surely it is still needed today?  I do believe the further our nation gets away from God and Jesus Christ, the further we move from freedom.  However, I also recognize that not everyone shares this view.  Why can’t we find a common ground of traditions and community bonding in shared space?  Why do we seem to only listen to one side of this argument?   It’s like a separation of church and state (not in the constitution btw) has come to mean a separation between all culture, business, community, and church; and I don’t think that’s what the founding father’s had in mind.

Here’s my plea to businesses out there- Please play Christmas music!  Especially after the events of last Friday we could all use a little peace on earth, good will towards men.  A little joy and fa,la,la,la, la never hurt anyone.   The number of people who will be uplifted by it will far outweigh the complainers.

You are a business you do not have to restrain yourself like government.  Be bold! Play some White Christmas, Santa Claus is Coming to Town, Frosty, whatever (sad that such songs are considered bold. Sigh…).  It may seem like a small thing but I believe these types of shared experiences and cultural routines have value and help us to relate to one another; otherwise, our spheres of common experience become more and more scattered each day and it should be no surprise that we are increasingly polarized with each passing year.

To Christmas carols!  Now on to my recital.  Wish me luck!

An Original Expression of Faith

“The number of people who subscribe to these beliefs and values is dwindling, but you and I remain true. We have covenanted with the Savior to represent Him...

We must be bold in our declarations and testimony of the divinity of Jesus Christ. We want others to know that we believe He is the central figure in all human history. His life and teachings are the heart of the Bible and the other books we consider to be holy scriptures. The Old Testament sets the stage for Christ’s mortal ministry. The New Testament describes His mortal ministry.

The Book of Mormon gives us a second witness of His mortal ministry. He came to earth to declare His gospel as a foundation for all mankind so that all of God’s children could learn about Him and His teachings. He then gave His life in order to be our Savior and Redeemer. Only through Jesus Christ is salvation possible. This is why we believe He is the central figure in all human history. Our eternal destiny is always in His hands. It is a glorious thing to believe in Him and accept Him as our Savior, our Lord, and our Master.

Remember all that the Church has done, is doing, and can do for you and your family. And remember that this is not just any other church; it is the restored Church of Jesus Christ.”

Elder Perry Dec 2012 Ensign

This morning I was faced with a conundrum.  Yes, it was back to the whole pants thing.  Here’s what went through my head.  On one hand I believe in a diverse Mormon woman- one who for instance can chose to have no children if that is what God directs her, or to have 12, to marry or never marry, to be a leader or follower in her community, whatever.  I’ve never been shy about promoting this even having a forum a few years ago of diverse Mormon women firesides where we had Mormon women from the army, business, politics, medicine, education, homemaking etc speaking about their faith and relationship with God.  It was inspiring and I wish it was a part of every young women’s experience.  This type of Mormon woman  is to be encouraged, and I believe is encouraged by the leadership, if maybe not the membership of the church.

On the other side I wanted NO part of a protest against my faith.  None.  Zero.  Nothing do with it. You can claim it was not a protest but that feels disingenuous when nearly every article, blog and even twitter posting (ie. hashtag #pantsprotest by founder) is phrased that way.   I love my church and I really do feel that women are treated equally within the doctrine of the church.  That may seem crazy but remember I do not equate leadership with equality.  Also there are things I learned in the temple that just settled this issue for me and I’ll leave it at that.  There is no more doubt for ME.

On the other hand a friend of mine said ‘you don’t want to be seen as one of the haters on the facebook walls’ so I felt pressure to wear pants just so I could prove I wasn’t one of the death threat wielding bigots on some of the sites.  This did not feel like the solution to me either.

So what should I do?  I decided I needed to think of a way to challenge convention a little more subtly and not in a way viewed by anyone or especially by God as protest.  I’m not judging anyone who chose differently.  This was just my choice, for my faith.

I chose to wear a red dress and bright red lipstick.  The whole point of this ‘movement’ was to challenge ‘cultural norms’ and that is what I did.  It may not seem like much of a challenge but to me it felt like a bold choice.  I normally am pretty tame in the make-up department.  I was definitely the loudest, busiest person in the room and it stood out big time (in fact, I should try this in my new ward so I don’t blend in!)

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Funny thing is everyone loved it!  I got tons of compliments on both the dress (thank you Walmart $19) and the lipstick (although red lipstick is tough because it does get on your teeth easy. Btw, I had this bright red lipstick from when I got my superwoman Halloween costume if you were curious).  When it was mentioned or someone noticed,  I then had the chance to explain my reasons and every single person  said some variation of ‘that’s great!’.

I was reminded today of a lesson my Dad is constantly trying to teach me- there is always a third, or fourth or even fifth solution to a problem, and sometimes that’s the best one.  Far too often as human beings we put ourselves in corners where we only have 2 choices and it can feel like we are damned if we do, and damned if we don’t (that’s definitely how I felt this morning).  My Dad, however, always see’s the way out.  I think I channeled a little bit of him today and I feel proud of my effort.

I was an original Mormon, an original woman, today, and I am always seen that way in God’s eyes, everyday.

Go red lipstick!  (this could be a thing.  Oh no!  Don’t want that!) 🙂

Btw- nobody in my ward (aside from men) wore pants. (or my parents or most of my friends wards for that matter.  I think #pantsprotest was a big dud.  Now, let’s pick up the ashes and try to do something good for the dynamic Mormon women we want to encourage.

https://smilingldsgirl.wordpress.com/2012/12/15/something-important-something-stupid/